In the Renaissance, Leo Battista Alberti wrote about the therapeutic powers of art. These days, Brad Pitt is approaching art as a way of coping with his split from Angelina Jolie. The actor has been learning the ropes from Hauser & Wirth sculptor and close friend Thomas Houseago. Now, he’s speaking publicly for the first time about his foray into fine art and, of course, he does so in GQ photographed by no less than Ryan McKinley.
In a new interview with GQ Style, Pitt says: “I’ve literally been squatting in there [Houseago’s studio] for a month now. I’m taking a shit on their sanctity.” He has become something of a studio rat: “I’m making everything.I’m working with clay, plaster, rebar, wood…” Pitt is not the first in doing this but he is the one of the more honest ones stating that art is not about studying but about proximity. I guess this is the logical outcome of a couple of decades when art was more about networking than about the work itself.
The cover story is accompanied by a series of photos by the photographer Ryan McGinley, who captures the 53-year old actor against the dramatic backdrop of California’s national parks. It is ironic thatt McGinley is the one chosen to photograph him because he is a similar case of marrying networking and art in order to enhance the marketability of his images.
Asked what he has planned for the rest of the afternoon after he leaves the interview, Pitt answers like a true artist: “I’m anxious to get to the studio. I think it was Picasso who talked about the moment of looking at the subject, and paint hitting canvas, and that is where art happens. For me I’m having a moment of getting to feel emotion at my fingertips. But to get that emotion to clay—I just haven’t cracked the surface. And I don’t know what’s coming. Right now I know the manual labor is good for me, getting to know the expansiveness and limitations of the materials. I’ve got to start from the bottom, I’ve got to sweep my floor, I’ve got to wrap up my shit at night, you know?” Anyway…